Humanist Voices
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Humanist Voices

This Week in Women’s Rights 2018–12–02

Photo by Kenny Soren on Unsplash

“Rising misogyny and an increase in the restrictions placed on women’s freedom worldwide mean the work of campaigners who defend their rights is more important than ever, the head of UN Women has said.

In a statement to mark International Women Human Rights Defenders’ Day, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said: “Those who defend our rights in turn need our defence. Their brave and important work has provoked reprisals and attacks against civil society actors in all parts of the globe. Humanitarian, development and peace-building organisations are also increasingly facing access and funding restrictions, making the task of human rights defenders all the more precarious.”

Although men too face attack, women’s rights defenders — targeted not only for the work they do, but also simply for being female — are beset on multiple fronts. In countries that still have fixed ideas about women’s roles, activists encounter aggression both inside and outside their homes and communities.”


“November is designated as Woman Abuse Prevention Month. The Woman Abuse Working Group (WAWG) continually strives to raise awareness of abuse and violence toward women and girls and works toward its elimination. There are other days and months throughout the year that are also notable. Feb. 6 is International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation; Feb. 22, Human Trafficking Awareness Day; March 8, International Woman’s Day; April, Child Abuse Prevention Month; May, Sexual Abuse Prevention Month; Oct. 4, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Trans People; November, Woman Abuse Prevention Month; Nov. 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women; Dec. 6, National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women; and Dec. 10, Human Rights Day. Why is it we need days and months designated to bring awareness to issues that continue to harm women and girls? Are we not all responsible to be safe toward others, to treat others respectfully, equitably, safely? With November 2018 behind us, did you know it was Woman Abuse Prevention Month?

Every person has the fundamental right to live safely and securely in their home and in their community. Every person has the right to live a life free of abuse and violence. Yet we have days and months throughout the year that we must be reminded of human rights as they apply to women and girls.”


“Marchers show their support for the campaign violence against women and girls on Saturday during the procession from Minto Park to the Ottawa Human Rights Monument.

Ottawa city council’s upcoming decision about how to increase awareness of women’s issues was on the minds of people who participated in a Saturday event to do the same thing with regard to violence against women.

The event, which included a march from Minto Park to city hall, was in support of the United Nations’ UNiTE to End Violence Against Women campaign.

Stella Val, an event organizer who’s with the Grandmothers Advocacy Network, said the hope was that people who saw the march would become more aware of how to stop violence against women and girls.

“The message is, when people stand together to voice an opinion and tell their story, we can effect change slowly,” Val said. “Any sort of violence of any kind is not to be tolerated, especially violence against women.””


“On November 20, Amnesty International published a report detailing how Saudi women’s rights activists, arbitrarily arrested in a government crackdown earlier this year, have faced sexual harassment and torture during their interrogation. Citing three separate testimonies, the rights group said the detainees were held in solitary confinement and faced repeated electrocution and flogging, leaving some of them unable to stand or walk. One of the activists reportedly tried to take her own life repeatedly inside the prison.

Saudi Arabia has a long history of forcefully silencing women who dare to stand up to the kingdom’s unjust laws and patriarchal gender norms. Almost four decades ago in 1990, 47 brave Saudi women were harshly punished by the authorities for participating in a major driving-ban protest — they were arrested and their passports were taken away. Some of them were even sacked from their jobs or expelled from their schools.”


Photo by Kenny Soren on Unsplash




Official Secular-Humanist publication by Humanist Voices

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Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen supports science and human rights.

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